Aloe Vera for Weight Loss: Benefits and Side Effects
Though it's most commonly used topically to heal burns and promote skin health, it has also been used to treat a variety of other conditions.
In recent years, it has even become a key ingredient in juices, herbal supplements, and diet drinks geared toward weight loss.
This article reviews the benefits and side effects of aloe vera for weight loss, as well as how to use it.
There are two ways in which aloe vera may aid weight loss.
May Boost Metabolism
Some research shows that aloe vera could boost your metabolism, increasing the number of calories you burn throughout the day to promote weight loss.
In one 90-day study, administering dried aloe vera gel to rats on a high fat diet reduced body fat accumulation by increasing the number of calories they burned.
Other animal research has shown that aloe vera could affect the metabolism of fat and sugar in the body while preventing the accumulation of belly fat.
Still, more studies are needed to determine whether aloe vera may offer similar health benefits in humans.
May Support Blood Sugar Control
Aloe vera may help improve blood sugar control, which may help increase weight loss.
In one study, consuming capsules containing 300–500 mg of aloe vera twice daily significantly reduced blood sugar levels in 72 people with prediabetes.
Another study in 136 people found that taking an aloe vera gel complex for 8 weeks reduced body weight and body fat, as well as improved the body's ability to use insulin, a hormone involved in blood sugar control.
Improving blood sugar control can prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, which could prevent symptoms like increased hunger and cravings.
Aloe vera could help promote weight loss by boosting your metabolism and supporting better blood sugar control.
Aloe vera intake has been associated with several adverse health effects.
Some of the most common side effects include digestive issues, such as diarrhea and stomach cramps.
While aloe vera can act as a laxative to help promote regularity, excessive use could increase your risk of adverse effects like dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
It's important to note that while its laxative effects may reduce water retention, the resulting loss of water weight is only temporary and not a sustainable weight loss strategy.
What's more, since this succulent may reduce the absorption of certain medications, it's important to consult your healthcare professional before using it if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any medications.
There is also concern about the cancer-causing effects of aloin, a compound found in non-decolorized, whole leaf aloe extract.
However, most aloin is removed during processing, so it's unclear whether commercial aloe vera products may also be harmful.
Furthermore, it's important to avoid eating aloe vera skin gels and products, as they may contain ingredients and additives that should not be ingested.
Finally, products containing aloe vera latex, a substance found within the leaves of the aloe vera plant, have been banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to safety concerns.
Aloe vera intake can cause several side effects and may decrease the absorption of certain medications. Unprocessed and unrefined extracts may also contain aloin, which is a carcinogenic compound.
How to Use It
Aloe vera leaves are comprised of three main parts — the skin, latex, and gel.
The gel is safe to consume and can be prepared by cutting the leaf in half and using a spoon or knife to scoop out the gel.
Be sure to wash the gel thoroughly to remove any dirt and latex residue, which can give the gel a bitter taste.
Try adding the gel into smoothies, shakes, salsas, and soups to bolster the health benefits of your favorite recipes.
You can also eat the skin of the aloe leaf by adding it to salads and stir-fries.
After slicing and washing the skin, you may also opt to soak the leaves for 10–30 minutes before adding them to your recipes to help soften them up.
The gel and leaves of the aloe vera plant can be consumed in a variety of recipes, including smoothies, soups, salsas, salads, and stir-fries. Always be sure to remove the latex layer.
The Bottom Line
Aloe vera is commonly found in weight loss products, including herbal supplements, juices, and diet drinks.
It may help promote weight loss by boosting your metabolism and improving your blood sugar control.
However, it may also be associated with several adverse effects and should be used in moderation as part of a healthy diet.
If you decide to give aloe vera products a try, be sure to purchase them from a reputable supplier.
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This week marks the official start of fall, but longer nights and colder days can make it harder to spend time outdoors. Luckily, there are several inspiring environmental films that can be streamed at home.
1. Kiss the Ground<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ccc5f0c92a5603e68aec39e56b0db02a"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K3-V1j-zMZw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: Netflix</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Sept. 22</strong></p><p>Between <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wildfires-california-washington-oregon-photos-2647585008.html" target="_self">wildfires devastating the U.S. West Coast</a> and <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tropical-storm-beta-landfall-2647760268.html" target="_self">storms battering the Gulf</a>, the impacts of the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/climate-change/" target="_self">climate crisis</a> can feel overwhelming right now. <em><a href="https://kissthegroundmovie.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Kiss the Ground</a> </em>offers an alternative to all of the bad news by focusing on solutions.</p><p>The film, directed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell and narrated by Woody Harrelson, explains how we can heal the Earth through "regenerative agriculture," farming practices that draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and into soil as a way to restore soil health, which in turn boosts ecosystems and food supplies.</p><p>"<em>Kiss the Ground </em>shows how feasible it is to make these changes at a grassroots level immediately and make a truly substantive impact with low cost and easy to implement solutions," Executive Producer RJ Jain said in an email. "This is why I got involved."</p>
2. Public Trust: The Fight for America's Public Lands<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5338f7a2931e356910026e5fd76fac56"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jsKMTAaj_wQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: YouTube</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Sept. 25, 2 p.m. EDT </strong></p><p>This <a href="https://www.patagonia.com/films/public-trust/" target="_blank">award-winning documentary</a> tells the stories of Indigenous activists, journalists, whistleblowers and historians working to protect America's <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/public-lands" target="_self">public lands</a>. The film focuses on three political struggles: the shrinking of <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/bears-ears" target="_self">Bears Ears</a> National Monument in Utah, the mining of Boundary Waters Wilderness in Minnesota and the opening of the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/Arctic-National-Wildlife-Refuge" target="_self">Arctic National Wildlife Refuge</a> to fossil fuel exploration.</p><p><em>Public Trust</em> was directed by David Garrett Byars and produced by Jeremy Rubingh. Patagonia Films, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and actor Robert Redford are executive producers. It will be <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGjnIG7puzY" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">released</a> on YouTube in time for <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/national-public-lands-day-2640656776.html" target="_self">National Public Lands Day</a>.</p><p>"Our country is fortunate to have millions of acres of public lands, including National Parks, Monuments, Wildlife Refuges and Wilderness set aside for future generations," Redford said. "Sadly, these lands that belong to you and me are under unprecedented threats from the greed of big corporations, eager to weaken restrictions in the pursuit of profits. Many of our current politicians are also to blame. <em>Public Trust</em> tells the story of citizens who are fighting back. It's a much-needed wake-up call for all of us who want to preserve our unique and wild cultural heritage."</p>
3. David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="156438a30836a765d7a92982545fc334"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/B_OFZvAd05Y?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: Netflix</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Oct. 4</strong></p><p>Beloved nature broadcaster <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/David-Attenborough" target="_self">David Attenborough</a> has spent his career introducing viewers to the wonders of our planet. In recent years, his footage of albatrosses swallowing <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/plastics" target="_self">plastic</a> in <em>Blue Planet II</em> has been credited with <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/2018-fighting-plastic-waste-2624606566.html" target="_self">helping to ramp up</a> the global fight against plastic pollution. Now, in this <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">World Wildlife Fund</a> (WWF)-produced <a href="https://www.attenborough.film/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">documentary</a>, he reflects on the defining moments of his career and the devastating changes he has witnessed.</p><p><em>David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet,</em> which was also produced by Silverback Films and directed by Alastair Fothergill, Jonnie Hughes and Keith Scholey, features an intimate conversation between Attenborough and Sir Michael Palin as the broadcaster reflects on his life and a career that took him to every continent on Earth. In addition to streaming on Netflix, the movie will be available in select theaters starting Sept. 28.</p><p>"For decades, David has brought the natural world to the homes of audiences worldwide, but there has never been a more significant moment for him to share his own story and reflections," WWF executive producer Colin Butfield said in a <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/david-attenborough-life-our-planet" target="_blank">statement</a>. "This film coincides with a monumental year for environmental action as world leaders make critical decisions on nature and climate. It sends a powerful message from the most inspiring and celebrated naturalist of our time."</p>
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If all the glaciers and ice caps on the planet melted, global sea level would rise by about 230 feet. That amount of water would flood nearly every coastal city around the world [source: U.S. Geological Survey]. Rising temperatures, melting arctic ice, drought, desertification and other catastrophic effects of climate change are not examples of future troubles — they are reality today. Climate change isn't just about the environment; its effects touch every part of our lives, from the stability of our governments and economies to our health and where we live.
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